My favourite book award, The Man Booker International Prize, announced their long-list today and it is, as usual, an incredibly diverse list, geographically and thematically. We have books from Iceland to China, Argentina to Albania. I remember loving Albanian Ismail Kadare’s psychological thriller The Successor when it came out 10 years ago, so I’ll start with his new book The Traitor’s Niche. A pretty dark book by the sounds of it telling the story of a courtier in the Ottoman Empire responsible for transporting the severed heads of the Sultan’s enemies. Nice to see Roy Jacobsen, one of Norway’s most revered authors, on the list, although The Unseen is not considered to be his best, that accolade goes to Child Wonder. I was disappointed that The End of Eddy by Edouard Louis didn’t make it. Wonder why… In any case, there’s plenty to choose from here. Which one would you like to read?
The Hay festival in Cartagena, Colombia took place a few weeks ago (25-28 January) and I’m sick with envy. I’ve long been wanting to go, maybe next year will be the year? The Hay Festival, Britain’s most famous literary festival once described by Bill Clinton as the Woodstock of the Mind, is a lot more than a week in Hay-on-Wye in Wales at the end of May, although that’s where it all started.